SOUTH AFRICASouth Africa is known for its friendliness and love of music. Known as the "Rainbow Nation" we not only have our own various indigenous races and languages but we also have people from all over the world that have settled in South Africa and now call South Africa their home.
Our beautiful country is made up of nine different provinces each with its own breathtaking and unique landscape and indigenous peoples. We have 11 official languages with English being the official language of business.
The home of the International Marimba and Steelpan Festival is in Gauteng, the smallest of the nine provinces.
South Africa has gone through interesting times but has come out of these times victorious! We are known to have the best democratic constitution in the world and we celebrate the fact that we have had a world icon living amongst us in the form of Nelson Mandela until his passing in December 2014.
The weather in Gauteng at the time of this Festival can be very cold in the early morning and once the sun sets at about 6pm so make sure to bring warm clothes with you. The midday is usually fairly warm with temperatures often reaching 24 degrees Celsius.
Food will be available at the Festival from early in the morning until the last event is over. South African traditional food as well as hotdogs, hamburgers, pancakes, toasted sandwiches, bacon rolls, hot chips etc will be available. No alcohol will be available and no alcohol is permitted at the venue.
St Dominic's is a smoke-free school, so please respect this and do not smoke on the premises.
The currency in South Africa is ZAR, the South African rand. The exchange rate varies from day to day so please check the tables online or at your nearest bank. South Africa has many ATMs where you can draw money. Please make sure to keep your pin number safe and it is advisable not to carry too much cash around with you. An ATM will be available at the Festival.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL INFORMATION
- Venue is in the Gauteng province.
- Population size of Gauteng: approximately 3,2 million.
- Altitude of Gauteng is 1753m above sea level.
- The nearest International airport is OR Tambo. It is a mere 16kms away from the Festival venue, St Dominic's Catholic School for Girls, Boksburg.
- O.R. Tambo International airport receives flights from all major cities around the world.
- Weather in winter in late July is usually dry: ranging from 6 degrees Celsius in the mornings and evenings and peaking at about 24 degrees Celsius mid-day.
- Soweto is the only place in the world where two Nobel Prize winners lived on the same street. These two are: the late Nelson Mandela, who will always be fondly known by South Africans as Madiba and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Arch!
- To discover South African history you need look no further than the Apartheid Museum, Constitutional Hill, and the late Nelson Mandela's Soweto home which has been converted into a museum.
- A trip on the Gautrain to Pretoria, the Jacaranda City or Sandton is a must for overseas visitors.
- Day trips to the nearby Pilanesberg National Park as well as other game reserves are available and you are assured of seeing at least 3 of the "big five" (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) on one of the day trips!
- The majority of car rental companies are represented at the main airports.
- A valid driver's licence is necessary to hire a self-drive vehicle. Vehicle hire companies may require an international driver's license.
- South Africans drive on the left! All cars are right-hand drive with the stick shift operated on the left hand.
- All major credit cards are accepted in South Africa.
- It is advisable to have cash handy for tollgate fees….especially for intercity travel.
- Please do not litter or deface any buildings or equipment.
- South Africa has the most developed telecommunications network in Africa.
- All SIM cards for cell (mobile) phones being used in South Africa must be registered according to South African government legislation. Under this legislation, known as RICA you will be asked to produce the following documentation: passport, SIM card and proof of physical address while in South Africa. Cell phone SIM cards and airtime are available at all major shops.
- Safety is of prime concern for all attending the Festival:
- Always watch your possessions. Don't leave them unattended.
- Don't walk alone in the dark.
- Avoid areas that are considered dodgy areas.
- Always lock your doors where you are staying.
- At night avoid wearing visible jewellery or looking like a tourist.
- Keep your cell phones (mobile phones) and wallets out of sight.
- Do not accept or carry items from strangers.
- Do not hitchhike.
- In the car always be on the alert when you come to a stop.
- Always make sure your car doors are locked and that the windows are closed.
- Place your valuables out of sight in the boot of your car.
- Always check for safety and advice with the organisers or hotel staff when you intend visiting different places.
- When parking at night choose well-patrolled and well-lit areas.
- Street security guards (also known as car guards) will ask you if they can watch over your car. When you return you can pay them a small fee-anything from R2 upwards.
- When using ATMs follow the same safety precautions you would at home. Never ask for assistance from a stranger!
- Should you lose your passport, report the loss as soon as possible to your country's embassy, or consulate and to the local police.
There will be a fully equipped first-aid station at the Festival venue. Please visit this station for all your medical requirements.
South Africa has stringent tobacco control regulations. Please note it is illegal to smoke in any indoor, enclosed or partially closed area open to the public.
The venue is a zero tolerance area. No alcohol or drugs will be allowed into the venue. Anyone caught with these substances will be asked to leave the premises immediately and may be prosecuted.
Should any band member be caught stealing or in possession of drugs or alcohol that institution/band will be banned from attending the festival for 3 years.
There is no risk of malaria in Gauteng. However, if you wish to travel to the Kruger National Park as well as some areas in Mpumalanga, Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Limpopo then please ask your doctor for advice.
The water in Gauteng is perfectly safe to drink. You can also buy bottled water which will be on sale at the Festival.